Travelling without a helmet: tourists' vulnerabilities and responses to disasters in Indonesia

Disasters. 2018 Oct;42(4):782-803. doi: 10.1111/disa.12281. Epub 2018 Mar 13.


Tourists are particularly vulnerable when natural disasters occur in regions that they are visiting. It is assumed that they lack awareness and understanding of the actions that they need to take in such circumstances. This study examines the responses of tourists in times of disaster, building on empirical data collected through large-scale surveys conducted in Bali and Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2015. Both are important tourist destinations in the country that have suffered major disasters in recent years. The different types of responses to these events are framed using a grid/group analysis stemming from cultural theory. The study resulted in three key findings: (i) current disaster management planning largely follows a single rationale; (ii) tourists are not a homogeneous group, but rather a complex, diverse, and dynamic body of stakeholders; and (iii) the focus of disaster management planning should shift from a single rationale to a polyrational methodology. Disaster managers need to consider, therefore, these different aspects in the context of preparedness.

Keywords: Indonesia; behaviour; cultural theory; disaster management; disasters; responses; tourists.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disaster Planning / organization & administration
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indonesia
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Travel*
  • Vulnerable Populations*
  • Young Adult